THE RESOLVE TO BE AND DO BETTER: PART V TURNING PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES INTO ASSETS

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The thrust of this fifth article of the series centered on how to improve self and help others do the same, is on how to convert obstacles to assets. All human beings do face serious disasters, challenges, problems, and stumbling blocks from time to time in life. How does one handle them? How one deals with such problems determines in large measure one’s character and even final destiny. In this article we shall be sharing some ways we all can transform our problems and difficulties into opportunities. How? We shall be finding out below. The fourth article on making the most of available opportunities highlighted the following points:

An opportunity is by definition a chance or favorable circumstance or condition to do something or make some progress or profit. An opportunity can take the form of time, resource or a favorable situation to improve.

Like a gift or talent God has endowed all persons with some opportunity of some kind. There is hardly anyone who has no opportunities of any kind at all. Some people have more than others but I do not know anyone who has no opportunity to make something of himself/herself. The availability of time, favorable age, raw materials, a natural talent, learning institutions, self-employment chances, employment facilities, industrial and entrepreneurial possibilities constitute vast opportunities to make good use of to better self and others.

What is often overlooked in seeking opportunities is recognizing problems, challenges, crises and even denials of rights as hidden sources of opportunity.

Recognizing therefore opportunities in myriad forms around and in each one of us is the real challenge. We all need plenty of wisdom made of common sense to see great potentials in ourselves and the people and things and circumstances around us. Liberia is a classic case. There are just so much natural resources lying around: a fertile soil latent with agricultural economic value, plenty of rain and sunshine, enough warmth and cold, diamonds, gold, iron ore, signs of commercial quantity of oil, fish, animal and bird of all types and kinds in a nation with a small population (three point five or four million people).

Of course there is one thing to perceive potentials and opportunities in self, environment, circumstance and persons around and quite another to take advantage of them and turn them into tangible assets that can be used to improve the quality of life for self and others. This requires a lot of perceptiveness, determination and the courage to act on what one envisions and dreams about.

This is where this article comes in, to suggest ways to convert problems into opportunities. Joshua David Stone and Gloria Excelsias assert that every crisis is an opportunity: “Any crisis is an opportunity to change direction in your life”. They reveal that the word crisis is of Greek origin and it means “a turning point in a disease.” Their conclusion is: “So a crisis is truly an opportunity for a turning point in our lives”. No bitter experience, or problem, or difficulty or obstacle needs to be the end of our dreams. In fact, most of our so-called liabilities can and must be turned into opportunities. The question is how?
We need to learn to see great potentials in our problems and challenges in life. There is a need to look beyond the difficulties and find in them the opportunities to make ourselves and others better. We can do this by not letting the problems kill our passion or determination to overcome and be winners.

There are often valuable lessons in meeting and overcoming problems in life. Problems test our resolve and patience and overcoming them somehow increases, refines inner and often hidden abilities that we thought we did not have.

Sometime we learn more from failure than success. Failure tries our pride and humbles us if we overcome it and forge ahead. I recall my experience of failure when a colleague from another African country and I did our MA thesis in one month, working often ten hours a day apart from Sundays. After three weeks of hard work he and I submitted the first drafts of all three chapters and unfortunately for me, two of mine were rejected and had to be re-done but all of his were accepted and he just had to make modest modifications. I was devastated and lost hours of sleep. Before then I had always come first in any class I had taken. But after the initial frustration I regained my passion and worked harder than ever before and at the end of the day got an “A” while he got only a regular “B”. So failure produced in me hidden creativity that was released as a result of a temporary crisis! I learnt more from the challenge than if I had succeeded at the first try.

Some experts on how to turn problems into opportunities speak about “turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones”, “misfortunes into fortunes”, “from grass to grace”, “from reliability to asset”, and “from dishonor to glory”. All this is possible only if we try harder and see our problems as opportunities.

overcome and be winners. There are often valuable lessons in meeting and overcoming problems in life. Problems test our resolve and patience and overcoming them somehow increases, refines inner and often hidden abilities that we thought we did not have.

Sometime we learn more from failure than success. Failure tries our pride and humbles us if we overcome it and forge ahead. I recall my experience of failure when a colleague from another African country and I did our MA thesis in one month, working often ten hours a day apart from Sundays. After three weeks of hard work he and I submitted the first drafts of all three chapters and unfortunately for me, two of mine were rejected and had to be re-done but all of his were accepted and he just had to make modest modifications. I was devastated and lost hours of sleep. Before then I had always come first in any class I had taken. But after the initial frustration I regained my passion and worked harder than ever before and at the end of the day got an “A” while he got only a regular “B”. So failure produced in me hidden creativity that was released as a result of a temporary crisis! I learnt more from the challenge than if I had succeeded at the first try.

Some experts on how to turn problems into opportunities speak about “turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones”, “misfortunes into fortunes”, “from grass to grace”, “from reliability to asset”, and “from dishonor to glory”. All this is possible only if we try harder and see our problems as opportunities.

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